LAAA to hold marathon cham­pi­onships

Lesotho Times - - Sport - Mikia Kalati

THE Le­sotho Am­a­teur Ath­let­ics As­so­ci­a­tion (LAAA) will hold its an­nual Na­tional Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships in Mo­hale’s Hoek on 20 Fe­bru­ary 2016.

Ac­cord­ing to LAAA Pub­lic Re­la­tions Of­fi­cer, Se­jana­mane Maphathe, the com­pe­ti­tion would be a plat­form for the as­so­ci­a­tion to se­lect a team of ath­letes that will rep­re­sent the coun­try at the African Cross Coun­try Cham­pi­onships to be held in Ethiopia in March.

“We are ex­pect­ing ath­letes from our 10 dis­tricts to com­pete for a place in the team that will par- tic­i­pate at the con­ti­nen­tal cross coun­try cham­pi­onship in March,” Maphathe said.

“This is also part of our pro­gramme to iden­tify young tal­ent and nur­ture it to re­alise its full po­ten­tial.”

The LAAA spokesper­son said they were also on the look­out for the team that will rep­re­sent the coun­try at the Olympic Games in Brazil later this year.

“The aim is to con­tinue look­ing for young tal­ent so that we have a big pool of qual­ity ath­letes that can rep­re­sent the coun­try well in ma­jor sport­ing com­pe­ti­tions,” said Maphathe.

“There is a lot of tal­ent across the coun­try, and it is just a mat­ter of giv­ing them the plat­form to show­case it.

“It is go­ing to be a long year with the Olympic Games also com­ing up.”

He said only sprinter Mos­ito Le­hata had qual­i­fied for the Olympics.

“Le­hata is the only ath­lete that has qual­i­fied for the Brazil games on merit, so we still have a chal­lenge in find­ing more ath­letes that will com­pete in the Olympics,” Maphathe said.

“So as things stand, we need to take our ath­letes to var­i­ous compe- titions in or­der to book a ticket to Brazil. As a re­sult, we might have run­ners tak­ing part in a marathon to be held in South Africa next month.”

He added: “High jumper Lerato Sechele is cur­rently in a train­ing camp in Sene­gal and can also qual­ify for the Rio games, so we keep­ing our op­tions open since we need to have at least six marathon run­ners in both the male and fe­male cat­e­gories.

“We will also stage a se­ries of track events in the up­com­ing months as part of the scout­ing pro­gramme and also give the ath­letes a plat­form to com­pete.”

The Mau­ri­tius-based Le­hata told the Le­sotho Times this week that he has been work­ing hard to make up for a dis­ap­point­ing 2015 in which he strug­gled with in­juries and also failed to win any medal at the In­ter­na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion of Ath­let­ics Fed­er­a­tions (IAAF) World Cham­pi­onships and All Africa Games held in China and Congo, Brazzaville re­spec­tively.

“I re­ally want to do well at the Olympics be­cause I feel I owe it to my coun­try af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing 2015,” Le­hata said.

The sprinter added that he was pre­par­ing for his first race in 2016 at the end of Fe­bru­ary.

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